Gross int’l reserves jump to $94B

Photo by 金 运 on Unsplash

The Philippines’ gross international reserves (GIR) further increased to $94 billion while its overall balance of payments (BOP) surplus declined to $711 billion at end-October, according to data the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released on 18 November.

The BSP said the country’s GIR level saw a jump of $1 billion from its previous $93.0 billion at end-September.

“The latest GIR level represents more than adequate external liquidity buffer equivalent to 7.5 months’ worth of imports of goods and payments of services and primary income,” BSP said.

“Moreover, it is also about 6.9 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.1 times based on residual maturity.”

Meanwhile, the country’s overall BOP position in October 2022 is lower than the $1.1 billion BOP surplus recorded in the same month in 2021. However, the BOP surplus in October is the highest in seven months or since March 2022.

The BOP surplus for the month reduced the cumulative BOP deficit in January-October 2022 to $7.1 billion from a deficit of $7.8 billion in the year’s first three quarters.

“The BOP surplus in October 2022 reflected inflows arising mainly from the national government’s net foreign currency deposits with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas,” BSP said.

The country’s BOP level is also a reversal from the $476 million surplus recorded in the same period in 2021.

The current year-to-date BOP level reflected the widening trade in goods deficit, as goods imports continued to surpass goods exports on the back of the persistent surge in international commodity prices and resumption in domestic economic activities.

Sought for comment, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. chief economist Michael Ricafort told Daily Tribune the BOP surplus in October 2022 is caused by the proceeds of the $2 billion global bond and/or ROP bond issuance of the national government in early October 2022, as well as the recent narrowing trend in the country’s trade deficit/net imports, as global crude oil prices eased to near 10-month lows recently.

“For the coming months, especially in November-December, BOP data could still improve with the improvement in the country’s structural inflows in terms of the seasonal increase in OFW remittances, BPO revenues, export revenues, foreign tourism receipts, POGO revenues, among others, in view of the holiday season,” Ricafort said.

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